Cruis’n Blast – Test, Rennspiel, Nintendo Switch

Cruis’n was?

Anyone who doesn’t know Cruis’n has slept through the amusement arcade! As early as 1994, Midway Arcade fans thrilled with a humorous full-throttle racer called Cruis’n USA, two years later the team stepped up and expanded the absurd horsepower brawl across the globe. Cruis’n World came in 1996 and once again offered the opportunity to turn wild animals into chunks of meat on some routes by running them over them – quite a weird thing for a racing game! Maybe that was due to the fact that the Mortal Kombat developer Midway wanted to serve everything a little more bloody. Or Eugene Jarvis, the mastermind behind the Cruis’n series, simply had a weakness for nasty screen violence: Even in the 2D actioner NARC, you could use gun violence to turn homeless people into chunks and his smash TV also found its way onto the index in Germany.

Eugene who?

Does that look bad? Yes. Is it still fun? Yes.

In general, Jarvis is an exciting head: he landed a legendary arcade hit with his first game Defender as early as 1980, two years later he invented an innovative control scheme for action games with Robotron, which is still with us today (keyword: twinstick shooter). He acted as a consultant for the 2017 Housemarque shooter Nex Machina, but he has actually been busy with his own company since 2001, the arcade developer Raw Thrills. In the age of amusement arcades, it has managed to become a quasi-monopoly on the US arcade market. Of course, classic arcade titles have also been programmed in Japan in the last ten years (by Sega, Namco or Taito), but the majority of the new shooting and razor titles come from China or from Raw Thrills – including shooters for King Kong, The Walking Dead, Jurassic Park, and even Halo. And with that they are quite successful, at least in the context of the entertainment temples popular in North America (e.g. Dave & Busters), which combine food and drink with bowling and arcade games. After all, when going out together with a few laps behind the steering wheel or the light gun, it hardly matters that the games are super-flat and technically long behind.

A real highlight: while you are sailing through the air, an earthquake is about to strike at your feet.

A real highlight: while you are sailing through the air, an earthquake is about to strike at your feet.

But let’s jump back to the Cruis’n series. The third part, published in 1999, with the suffix Exotica, was ported from the arcade to the N64 like the first two titles, then the name disappeared, apart from one GBA episode, in the drawer. In 2007, Raw Thrills’ arcade runabout The Fast and the Furious, stripped of all film references, turned into a Cruis’n episode on Wii. Then: again a drawer. It wasn’t until 2017 that Raw Thrills brought an official fourth part to the arcade – and that finally brings us to Cruis’n Blast. Barely four years later, the speedy car appeared on Switch …